I want to post this link to the blog of a reader of this site, Long-Skirts, whose poetry sometimes graces the combox.  She is an SSPX chapel attendee, as some of you may know.  Each year a group from the SSPX makes a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Starkenburg, located within the Diocese of Jefferson City.  Each year they face difficulties, large or small.

The reason I am posting this is not to get into the minutiae of SSPX-Rome relations, but just to give an idea of the kind of treatment they get from other Catholics, and why there is a certain level of skepticism in their ranks.  Last year I read about the problems at Starkenburg, and that the Church was locked.  The SSPX group had Mass outside.  This year, they found the entire grounds blocked and guarded.

Now, of course I can see how the Diocese, or the Shrine staff, would not want a suspended priest to say Mass in the Church.  I thought then, and think now, that a nice gesture on the part of the Diocese or Shrine would be to agree to a Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the SSPX congregation provided a non-suspended priest said it.  Perhaps in a burst of Christian charity, they could provide one.  But anyway, at least make that offer, and if the SSPX turned it down then it’s on them.  The SSPX of course is comfortable enough with the irregular status of its priests to have them say Mass, but I can understand why the Diocese/Shrine would disagree.  Like I said, there seems to be a compromise possible that would avoid scandal and preserve charity and honor.  It ought to be pursued.

The SSPX, according to the Holy Father, is not in schism, not its bishops, priests or lay supporters.  So, what are they?  They are Catholic.  Why can’t Catholics enter onto grounds of a Catholic shrine that is open to the public?  Hindus can enter the grounds.  Leftist Catholics who support women’s sorta-nation can enter.  If only the guardians of the Church’s buildings were as zealous in all situations. 

Perhaps if those involved were as solicitous of these fellow  Catholics as they would be in an ecumenical or interreligious gathering– even if they (incorrectly) considered them “our separated brothers and sisters”– the solution could be found. While that prospect may be bleak, it is to be prayed for.

Our Lady of Starkenburg, pray for us.